What a difference a year makes. This offseason, the New Orleans Saints are the only team in the NFC South not linked to quarterback drama.
The Atlanta Falcons have two unproven signal-callers in Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder, and the Carolina Panthers, who can’t get rid of Sam Darnold, traded for Baker Mayfield a week ago.
Now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have a little shake-up of their own as the reigning division champs look for Tom Brady’s future replacement.
NOLA had a bit of an identity crisis earlier this summer with the Deshaun Watson controversy, but that chapter has quickly come and gone. Heading into the 2022 season, the Saints have a relatively stable quarterback room of Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton, and the team can instead sit back and watch the rest of the NFC South grapple with franchise-changing decisions.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay recently wrote his bold predictions for the league’s top five trade targets right now and had the Bucs going after 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo. In the listed trade, Tampa Bay gives San Francisco a 2023 third-round pick in exchange for Brady’s potential heir:
"Because of Garoppolo’s availability concerns, franchises in need of a starting quarterback for the 2022 season may be leery about dealing for him. Instead, a club that has one of the NFL’s best starting signal-callers could emerge as the top suitor.Sileo said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would “love” to bring Garoppolo in as the heir apparent to Tom Brady, who briefly retired this offseason. Having a replacement like Garoppolo—whom the New England Patriots drafted as a potential heir to Brady in 2014—on the roster would make for a much smoother transition than the one that Bucs nearly had to undertake this offseason."
New Orleans Saints wouldn’t mind seeing the Bucs trade for Jimmy G in 2022
In terms of the 2022 season, a Jimmy G-Bucs trade wouldn’t affect the Saints much. Tom Brady will be Tampa Bay’s QB1 for one last dance — after Brady’s reign, however, Garoppolo could step up to the throne as the Bucs’ starter for the next several years.
We previously wrote about why the NOLA Saints should avoid trading for Garoppolo earlier this offseason, and thankfully, they did.
The 30-year-old quarterback is coming off injury and has long been critiqued for his turnover-prone plays and inability to win games. Last year, the 49ers made it to the NFC Championship because of supporting players like Deebo Samuel and a strong run game, not Garoppolo’s heroics.
Garoppolo finished the year with 3,810 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, yet his in-game play reveals his unreliable pocket presence and tendency to throw the ball away or to the other team.
If this trade does materialize and the Saints face Jimmy G for the foreseeable future, NOLA’s pass defense will have a field day. Marshon Lattimore, Ceedy Duce, P.J. Williams, and others will smack their lips at the opportunity to pick off one of the most inconsistent quarterbacks in the modern era, and the Saints should expect to reign the NFC South once more.
For now, the Saints just have to suffer through one more year of Brady. After that, the division is theirs.